LOCAL RIDERS FIGHT OUT DRAMA CHARGED NSW OPEN SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONSHIP

Expectations were high for an exciting 2017 NSW Open Speedway Solo Championship with a quality field entered for the prestigious event hosted by the Kurri Kurri Speedway Club. Not even the total contradiction of weather could have an effect on what turned out to be a drama charged Championship chase.

Scheduled to be held on Saturday night as the opening race meeting of the summer speedway season at Kurri Kurri, the event was hampered by persistent rain showers. Riders and officials decided to postpone until the following day, Sunday, only to be faced with a steady NW wind and sunny skies, resulting in track staff battling with the constantly drying out track surface.

But none of this took away from the drama that unfolded in deciding the NSW Champion for 2017.Defending Champion Rohan Tungate was favoured to make a strong defence of his crown and that was quickly backed up when he won all five of his qualifying races in convincing fashion, carrying him directly into the Championship final.

The battle for the remaining six spots in the Championship finals was intense with less than four points separating the next 8 riders. With some riders finishing on equal points the Championship count back system was required and the tension even had an effect on the officials with momentary confusion in announcing the qualifiers. Current Australian Under 21 Champion, Jack Holder, local rider Josh Pickering and the Central Coast’s Taylor Poole all finished three points behind Tungate and it was Pickering and Poole who went directly into the Championship final with Tungate.

Holder was relegated to the sudden death B Final along with former Australian Champion, Brady Kurtz (11 points) and local rider Jye Etheridge (9 points). The count back system came into play once again as three riders finished with 8 points including Queenslander’s Ryan Douglas and Zaine Kennedy, along with Cowra’s Matthew Gilmore and Ryan Douglas claimed the fourth spot.

Jack Holder held off an early challenge from Brady Kurtz to win the B Final and move into the Championship final. The nervous tension was evident as Holder made a ‘flying start’, but referee Dave Mills was not satisfied that it was a fair start to the race and all riders were recalled for a re-start.

Tungate won the race out of the first corner, but came under challenge from Pickering and in the opening two laps the lead between the two changed four times, Tungate held the lead going into the last two laps and wasn’t headed going on to win his second straight NSW Open Speedway Solo Championship.

“I used my big engine today and it worked well,” Tungate said as he received his MNSW Gold medal. “Now I can focus on the Aussies (title).”

Josh Pickering was thrilled with his second place. “That stops the worries about a visa to the UK for the next couple of years,” he said.

The next race meeting for Kurri Kurri Speedway will be the annual Jason Crump Invitational on Boxing Day and a number of the riders who competed in the NSW title event were given invitations

Booker bags Darlington thriller

While the field size was reduced it was a very competitive bunch that turned up to the racy little track located in the town of Darlington, Victoria, a town which no longer fields a cricket team or footy club but which has an awesome little speedway.

“The track was hooked up and in great condition,” Booker stated. “You couldn’t ask for anything more.”

“Late last year we tore the car up so it was good to get it back together and get another win,” he continued. “I really want to thank Barry Power, the Power boys, my sponsor I-Saw Concrete and my wife Renae. Without them we couldn’t go racing.”

Booker showed his intentions right from the start taking the win in the first heat from Glen Shaw and David Alford despite an hour and a half rain delay in the middle of it.

Shaw took the score in heat two from Justin McMinn who’d thrashed hard to repair his car after a big flip in the season opener at Avalon with Tasmanian champion Joe Lostitch third.

The final heat was another Booker win ahead of Nick Parker and McMinn.

Craig Smith suffered a catastrophic engine failure in his first heat and Mike Griffiths was lucky not to take a wild ride when a component failure saw him lose a wheel.

With the rain delaying things along the way, the club worked hard to recover the track and continue the event and to their credit the track was in great shape for the final and Shaw and Booker shared the front row from Parker, McMinn, Lostitch, Toby Smith, Alford, Brad Day and rookie Dillon Ghent.

Booker got the jump on Shaw at the drop of the green and then Parker pushed him back a further position on the next lap and that was how the top three finished the event although in between pulling wheelstands Parker mounted a serious challenge.

McMinn was an unlucky retirement when Alford spun in front of him leaving him nowhere to go, and then Toby Smith suffered steering failure that saw The #55 Smeast hit the wall hard bringing out the red lights and curtailing the final a few laps early.

Despite setting his fastest lap on what turned out to be the last lap (lap 20) Booker was only 0.303 seconds ahead at the line with Shaw less than a second back.

Lostitch, Day and Ghent completed the top six positions.

The next event for the time honoured club is the prestigious Beasley Memorial to be held at Avalon Raceway on November 25. This event annually draws a large field of quality local and interstate cars and this year’s event is expected to do the same.

Oldfield Smokes ‘Em!

Warren Oldfield has last night once again shown his fellow competitors that a crate motor is incredibly competitive as he raced his way to the win in Round Three of the XLI Pro Dirt Series at the Perth Motorplex.

Oldfield had a perfect night, winning his two heat races to claim the Pancho’s Pole Position award ahead of the twenty lap feature event.

He would share the front row with Brad Blake, but it would be Paul Stubber who made the early move as he raced under Blake to grab the lead. Matt Goodlad would follow Blake through, with Oldfield sandwiched between them in second.

Blake would shortly after fight back and retake third from Goodlad while up front Oldfeld would do the same to Stubber, grabbing the lead on lap three. At that point it would only be momentarily though as Stubber raced back around the outside, but Oldfield would simply not give up and continued to pursue Stubber.

Behind them, Veronica McCann was beginning to make her move, grabbing fifth from Jay Cardy on lap four.

Blake set out after Oldfield for second, with Stubber just ahead and Goodlad just behind; the top four pulling away slightly from the rest of the field.

Stubber touched the turn three wall but manage to continue, however at the opposite end of the track at the same time Jayden Meckenstock would do the same but end up bringing out the yellows.

The restart was where Oldfield took his chance to assert his dominance, grabbing the lead before Stubber went wide in a move that also cost him second place as Blake too moved underneath him. Shortly after Goodlad would move past Stubber for third while McCann moved into fourth on lap eleven.

Oldfield built up a gap on Blake, Goodlad and McCann who were racing in tight quarters, while Brent Vosbergen and Ryan Halliday, who were having their own battle for fifth, would also close on the leading group in the final laps.

Up front though, Oldfield built up an unassailable lead, crossing the line nearly eleven seconds ahead of his nearest rivals to claim his seventeenth Perth Motorplex feature win. Brad Blake was second across the line, followed by Matt Goodlad, Veronica McCann, Brent Vosbergen and Ryan Halliday rounding out the top six. Interestingly, fifteen of the original seventeen starters were able to finish the race.

The Late Models once again have a short turnaround time, with the fourth round of the XLI Pro Dirt Series scheduled for this coming weekend, Saturday the 11th of November, at Manjimup Speedway.

The XLI Pro Dirt Series and Di Candilo Steel City USA Invasion Tour bought to you by Pancho’s Mexican Restaurants, CTM Recruitment, Cardy Racing Components, APM Roofing, Dirt Track Nutters, Renegade Fuels, Palice Property Group, Moyle Race Parts, Boyes Equipment SVS, RACIN’ Tyres and Accessories, Maxima Oils, Collie Machine Shop, Southern Haulage, Car Busters and Forma-tel.

Contingency Awards
Pancho’s Pole Position – Warren Oldfield
DTN Hard Charger – Mick Comley
APM Roofing Quicktime – 15.828 Ryan Halliday
CTM Recruitment All Star Award – Veronica McCann
Cardy Racing Components 8th Place – Michael Holmes

Official Results
Heat One – 10 laps: 1. Ryan Halliday, 2. Veronica McCann, 3. Michael Holmes, 4. Brent Vosbergen, 5. Paul Stubber, 6. Jay Cardy, 7. Simon McNab, 8. James Batley, 9. Mick Comley, 10. David Nylander (9), 11. Willy Powell (9). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 5.857. Fastest Lap: 15.828 Ryan Halliday.

Heat Two – 10 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Brad Blake, 3. Lee Watt, 4. Matt Goodlad, 5. Jai Mazzini, 6. Daniel Ameduri, 7. Jayden Meckenstock, 8. Jeremy Hale (8), 9. Ryan Ludlow (8). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.127. Fastest Lap: 16.724 Lee Watt.

Heat Three – 10 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Matt Goodlad, 3. Brad Blake, 4. Lee Watt, 5. Brent Vosbergen, 6. Veronica McCann, 7. James Batley, 8. Willy Powell, 9. Ryan Halliday. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 2.195. Fastest Lap: 16.985 Ryan Halliday.

Heat Four – 10 laps: 1. Paul Stubber, 2. Jay Cardy, 3. Simon McNab, 4. Daniel Ameduri, 5. Michael Holmes, 6. Jeremy Hale, 7. Jayden Meckenstock, 8. Mick Comley. DNF: Jai Mazzini (6), Ryan Ludlow (5). Total Time: 2.56.909. Winning Margin: 2.312. Fastest Lap: 17.188 Paul Stubber.

Feature – 20 laps: 1. Warren Oldfield, 2. Brad Blake, 3. Matt Goodlad, 4. Veronica McCann, 5. Brent Vosbergen, 6. Ryan Halliday, 7. Paul Stubber, 8. Michael Holmes, 9. Jay Cardy, 10. Daniel Ameduri, 11. Lee Watt, 12. Mick Comley, 13. Simon McNab (19), 14. Willy Powell (19), 15. James Batley (19). DNF: Jeremy Hale (6), Jayden Meckenstock (7). DNS: Ryan Ludlow, Jai Mazzini, David Nylander. Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 10.852. Fastest Lap: 17.723 Warren Oldfield.

 

Pictures Courtesy Peter Roebuck.

Mills bags VSDA Speedcar opener

Echuca’s Travis “Squizzy” Mills drove superbly last night to best a stellar field of Speedcars and win the season opening event at Avalon Raceway.

“The track’s a little tricky, it’s got a bit more drive than most of us expected but I can feel the improvements in the car and engine from last year.” Stated Mills earlier in the evening. “It’s great to have so many cars here to start the season and they’re all good cars so I know it’s not going to be easy to win and I and the rest of field are looking forward to the challenge.”

Coming home second with his fresh off the boat new acquisition was Geelong’s Domain Ramsey who was in a barnstorming mood with a couple of demon restart sliders elevating his position throughout the event which was declared  a few laps early when Tasmanian Champion Joe Lostitch rolled to bring on the second red light of the final.

“I just spun and tried to keep my foot into it and it just stood up and fell over.” was his honest assessment.

A fine third place belonged to Sydney based teenager Kaidon Brown who had to work hard throughout the feature.

After some brilliant heat racing and some upside down moments for Justin McMinn and Keith Astrella it was a slightly unexpected line up come feature time with some of the more fancied runners a little further back than usual which promised some great racing action.

Jackson was on pole from Parker, Mills, Matt Papa, Andy Pearce, Ash Booker, Ramsey, Lostitch, Brown, Glen Shaw, Ryan McKenna, Jack Day, Toby and Craig Smith, Dillon Ghent and Troy Wooley. David Alford and Astrella had machine issues and were unable to start the main as was Mike Griffith whose car refused to fire also.

Rookie Dillon Ghent was showing some great speed until lap 3 of the final when Andy Pearce spun and Ramsey steered onto the infield to avoid him sending up a dust cloud that obscured vision. With other cars spinning and stopping Ghent was unable to see the carnage too clearly and “it all went to poo from there” as he hit the wall and showered the sky in sparks as he flipped.

On the restart Parker led Matt Jackson and Mills away who’d already shown he had good speed.

Jack Day then spun on lap 6 and still Parker was leading but not for long as Mills soon took the lead.

The Smith family then held a family reunion on lap 9 when young Toby tagged the back of Uncle Craig spinning them both out and tipping Toby over.

From there the race ran some consistent fast laps until the Lostitch roll brought proceedings to an early end.

Final results were Mills, Ramsey, Brown, Parker, Ash Booker, Jackson, Glen Shaw, Matt Papa and Craig Smith.

Papa stormed to the win in heat 1 from Ramsey and Lostitch, while Jackson scored a first up win for his new car owner in heat 2 from Brown and Pearce.

Mills adjusted the car to win heat 3 from Shaw and Pearce while Parker won heat 4 from Booker and Lostitch.

HOLDER'S HAPPY

Aussie star Chris Holder insists he arrives in Melbourne “happier than I have ever been” as he bids to overcome a year of personal problems and end with QBE Insurance Australian SGP glory tonight.

The Sydneysider heads to the nation’s sporting capital 10th in the standings on 82 points – 15 short of Matej Zagar, who occupies the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot for next year.

Barring a disastrous night from the Slovenian, Holder must rely on a wild card from the SGP Commission to book his place in the 2018 series.

But he’s already looking forward to starting with a clean slate after being dogged by years of personal problems and injuries since he stormed to FIM Speedway World Championship gold in 2012.

He said: “I have had so much going on for the last four years. If it’s not injuries, it’s off-track stuff that has affected me.

“I’m the type of person who if I’m not happy, I don’t ride well. It’s hard for me to get motivated and interested. But when I’m happy, that’s probably when I am at my best. I enjoy it and things work.

“I haven’t been a really happy person for the last four years, but hopefully everything is changing now and things are sorting themselves out. I’m looking forward to getting over this year and coming back next year with no problems.

“It has just seemed to be one thing after another. I’d get over an injury and then something would happen in my personal life that would screw me over. Darcy’s crash was a massive blow obviously.

“I felt last year was one of the best I’d had for a while and that fell apart with more personal problems. It’s the way it goes, and this year was probably written off before I even started. I tried to race through it, but it’s not that easy.

“I’m happier than I have ever been now and I am looking forward to having a good one here today and then having a good off-season and coming back and getting in amongst it.”

Realistically, Holder requires a near perfect score, with catastrophic performances from Zagar in eighth and Martin Vaculik in ninth to have any chance of reaching the top eight.

But whatever happens Holder is keen to give his friends, family and Aussie fans, who rarely get the chance to see him live, a great night.

He said: “It’s my home Grand Prix and I had a great one last year. I’ll just come here, hopefully have a great night and enjoy it, and I don’t have the pressure on me at all I don’t think. If it works out, it works out. But with a bit of luck, Doyley will be the champ.

“It has been a pretty rough year. I have been up and down and it hasn’t gone anywhere near as well as I hoped it would. But obviously, being back here, it would be great to have a great night in front of everybody and finish on a good note.

“You always want to do well in front of your family and friends. They don’t get to see you race a lot. When they’re here, their support is great and you want to give them something to cheer about.

“Last year was awesome – we still talk about it. It was so cool to get the win here and it was something I’ll never forget. Hopefully I can do it again, but if not, just have a good night and finish on a good note – that’s the main aim.”

There is still time to get to the event or watch it on Foxsport from 7pm on channel 506.

Sandown 500 Seatbelt Gate Busted

With “Seatbelt Gate” still on the front page I want to spend a few minutes showing you how much time and effort it would take to cheat in this department.

The picture is of a standard FIA Standard 8853-2016 Belt buckle.



As you can clearly see only three holes are available to be pinned off and only three configurations are able to be ordered from the manufacturer.  From those three configurations you can choose ONE and only ONE under the FIA Standard.  

The pin is in the crutch position on this buckle. So to lock off any other configuration serious remanufacturing would need to occur.

In this image you see a hole would need to be drilled in just the right location.  It would need to be perfectly located to make the rest of the mechanism still work and release the other tongues as required.

You would need to totally disassemble the buckle, order or make new parts and reassemble.  However by doing this you have totally changed from an approved and tested product to an unapproved and totally illegal product.   Without even stating the obvious, Safety is paramount and this is why all seatbelts must be extensively tested and certified by the FIA for use in competition.

If anyone thinks what happened at Sandown in the Supercar Series with “Seatbelt Gate” is acceptable, they need to go have a good hard look at themselves!

Altering approved devices and zip tying belts together has been outlawed by the FIA for 18 months.  

If serious penalties are not handed down to ALL offending teams it will just show the system is a total joke.